In the latest battle in the war of words between Agents' Mutual and online estate agents, eMoov has lodged a complaint with the CMA accusing the new portal provider of running an illegal cartel.
The CMA has taken over from the now-defunct Office of Fair Trading and part of its work involves providing guidance on competitions legislation and the operation of cartels.
eMoov chief executive Russell Quirk has told Estate Agent Today: My complaint against AM is that a) it is an illegal cartel being run by 10 estate agency directors to form a protective entity, and b) that [it] works to the detriment of the consumer with regard to excluding online estate agents together with the anti-competitive nature of its approach to singling out which portals a member is permitted' to list on.
Quirk insists Agents' Mutual, which is scheduled to launch its OnTheMarket portal in just over two months' time, is engaging in anti-competitive practices.
The CMA has issued a response to Quirk, including these two paragraphs:
The CMA will review and retain the information you have sent us to support any future work that the CMA may choose to carry out. Your report may contribute to our investigations and if it does we may get in touch with you. However, we are unable to enter into correspondence about every individual complaint.
We have noted your complaint and brought it to the attention of our pipeline/intelligence teams. We use the intelligence we gather, alongside our Prioritisation Principles to develop our pipeline of new projects and programmes of work and make the best use of CMA resources in terms of real outcomes for UK consumers.
A spokesman for the CMA told Estate Agent Today that a complaint does not automatically trigger an investigation - although if it is judged to be serious enough, it may do so.